Dear BC

Dear BC,

After 8 years together, I can’t believe it’s come to this.  I thought I’d found the one when we first connected, the place I’d be forever.  Now, it’s just not working out between us.

Your rugged good looks drew me to you in the beginning, along with all the opportunities you offered for fun and exploration.  But since starting our family, your handsome looks and adventurous attitude are no longer enough.

We’re supposed to be raising our kids together.  Sure, you promise to put “family first.” But your words are empty in the absence of action. Where are you when I’m squeezed between high housing prices, stagnant incomes, and the need for time at home with our kids?  What are you doing to help pay for child care?  Why can’t you help make this affordable, when you can afford new bridges, roofs for sporting arenas, theOlympics and a highway to the ski hill.

Cars, fun and games!  Truth is BC, you’re just like a deadbeat dad.

Now that we have kids, what do I have to do to attract your interest again?  I’m keeping up my end of the bargain.  I work hard in employment.  I work hard as a small-business owner.  I work hard at home, and as a volunteer too. I stand on my own two feet.  Why doesn’t this look good to you?

Don’t get me wrong – I know that you have lots of fine qualities.  You dedicate much of your time and money to taking care of our aging parents, especially their health care and pensions.  And it matters very much to me that they are supported.

But why can’t all members of our family benefit from your rich resources and wealth?  Supporting retirees can happen alongside supporting our kids.  In fact, if more of my parents’ generation knew how many of our children are failing to be ready for school, or are growing increasingly anxious anddepressed, or are living with low-incomes, they too would ask you to devotemore of your resources to the next generation.

I do love you, BC. I have held on to the dream of raising my children with you for many years.  But as time goes on and our children become increasingly vulnerable, I don’t see you making the changes we need to be successful.

Since I’m not a quitter, I’ll give you 3 more months to shape up.

During this next provincial election, all provincial parties must finally speak to the needs of my generation – a generation in its prime child rearing years.  Sure, keep talking about jobs, jobs, jobs.  But know this focus is insufficient.  I have a two jobs, and they leave me squeezed for time at home with my kids, squeezed to pay for higher housing prices, and squeezed to pay for child care services that cost more than post-secondary tuition.  Unless you propose plans to reduce this squeeze, you cannot live up to the commitment you made to put our families first.

BC, I’m looking for a plan to reduce the squeeze on the generation raising young kids (see gensqueeze.ca).  If you don’t have such a plan in the next campaign, then I am afraid I will have to find somewhere else that does.

Sincerely,

Gen Squeeze Mom & Small Business Owner.

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10 thoughts on “Dear BC

  1. Not that I disagree with your comments (in general), but to compare the cost of childcare services to that of post-secondary education only serves to illustrate how out of touch you are with these fees. I’ve been there and done that so I do have an idea of what I’m talking about. Please feel free to educate yourself before making such statements. POST SECONDARY EDUCATION COSTS ARE UNATTAINABLE FOR THE MAJORITY OF CANADIANS, including residents of B.C. You made a conscious decision to have children; let’s hope you can afford them. Post secondary education, on the other hand, should be made available to every single Canadian – sad that it isn’t and that we have to mortgage our homes in order to finance our children’s future.

    • I am not out of touch with child care, or post secondary costs. Your statement is ridiculous and paradoxical: if the government pays for every Canadian’s post-secondary education, then my mortgage would be bigger due to paying more taxes anyways! Let’s take Europe as an example of a ‘general’ society that offers ‘free’ post-secondary education – as a whole, they are bankrupt and it doesn’t work. In Germany they require military service for a free education; that might be a sustainable model, but not the socialistic idealism that you are talking about.

      FYI – We contribute to an RESP and scrimp and save for our child to ensure she has every available option for her post secondary choices. I don’t expect the government to pay her way.

    • Hi there Claudette,
      Here are the facts about the costs of university tuition as they compare to child care services. Statistics Canada shows that the average university tuition for undergrad is $5,581 in 2012/13. Average costs for child care in BC are $8,640, and more expensive still for children under age 3. I applaud your conviction that post-secondary education should be affordable for all. But why are you so convinced that fees should be affordable for our children when they are in university, but you don’t have this concern when the same kids are under age 6? Kind regards,
      Paul Kershaw, Ph.D, UBC

      • Hi Paul,
        The difference being that making a decision to have a child is a life choice; one which should be considered at length (few people do). Simply put, I don’t feel that my tax dollar should be spent on people who cannot afford to live with the choices they’ve made. Education, on the other hand, whether it be elementary, secondary or post-secondary, should be made available to all; regardless of one’s economic standing, everyone should have access to the same educational opportunities. By the way “average” is the key word here (a very deceiving term); I just put two sons through university and I would have been more than happy to pay in the range of $5,581. per annum for their education – the actual costs were 2 to 3+ times that. The reality is that the majority of “average” (here’s that work again!) households in B.C. cannot afford to finance any post-secondary education for their children. I appreciate your opinion, but I still stand by my comments.

      • Just a quick note to say that the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which is a universally accepted and highly ratified document, offers that all children have the right to early childhood development opportunities. This includes early childhood education. Again we are in agreement that education should be made available to all. http://www.unicef.org/crc/

    • This is an interesting argument. We know that the cost of University is unattainable for many which is why we have developed a diverse system of bursaries, scholarships and student loans. Why don’t we blame those University Student’s parents for having them? If you can’t afford University you shouldn’t have had kids! We don’t feel that way about school aged kids “You can’t afford private school? You shouldn’t have had kids!”. We don’t even extend that kind of reasoning to old age and say to people “You didn’t save enough for retirement? You shouldn’t have lived!” Why is it that we only feel this way about the youngest Canadians when we know that 90% of the brain develops in the first 6 years and a strong start builds a healthy Canada? It seems backwards to me.

      I understand that you are a proud Canadian who takes responsibility for your children and I appreciate that. I too am taking the best care of my children that I possibly can. WHat I am fighting for is a Canada that builds appropriate social programs for ALL ages.

      Thank you for reading my blog and sparking conversations around child care. All the best to you.

  2. Joanne:
    I NEVER comment/respond to editorials, even ones that leave me shaking my head, but I could not let this go.

    To paraphrase – you expect the government to implement control over housing prices, pay for/subsidize your childcare, and increase your earnings? I read your editorial today and was completely taken aback that (a) The Province would print such nonsense, and (b) that someone could be so selfish and naive. You state that you stand on your own two feet through hard work and I assume you are a good parent/member of your family….why should the government focus on helping you?

    I have a young family as well, I feel the ‘squeeze’ every day (time, money, etc.), yet in no way should the government spend one dollar of my hard earned taxes on further control mechanisms in this society that focus on my ‘generation’. Like it or lump it, we are the middle class and holding our own is what we do. Sure I would like a house instead of a townhouse, or to only work a 40-hour week and be able to make ends meet, but the government should be focused on the important things – not the nice to haves.

    OUR government should improve the infrastructure, help the truly needy who cannot help themselves, help our impoverished/abused and vulnerable children, help the mentally ill, and practice fiscal responsibility with accountability (perhaps that last one was a pipe dream). They should not use our dollars to moderately improve the lives of a generation of entitled individuals who are more than capable at fending for themselves.

    Aside from moving to a communist society (because that is effectively what you are asking for), here is a suggestion:
    Instead of wasting your free time blogging (which to me seems counter-intuitive to your statement of “…need for time at home with your kids”), open a child care business (as I know from excruciating personal experience that good ones are in STEEP demand), grow to a success, and your three issues will take care of themselves – all without the need for government intervention!
    You can then start a blog complaining about paying too much in taxes and how the government should leave your hard earned money alone.

    • Odd as it may sound I think you and I have more common ground than you think.

      Infrastructure is a huge and important issue – the cost of repairs will likely be passed down to the very people who will inherit the problem – namely my children and their peers who are currently being raised by parents who are squeezed half to death. This squeeze translates into stress which causes severe anxiety and depression in children. When you mention helping the needy I feel that the population of children under 6 in BC who are living in poverty and arriving in Kindergarten ‘vulnerable’ or at risk for develpmental issues are ‘truly needy’.

      Not so much an issue of subsidizing day care this is an issue of adapting to massive social changes and providing the services our young Canadians need to succeed in life. You say government should not “use our dollars to moderately improve the lives of a generation of entitled individuals who are more than capable at fending for themselves” again I agree with you. This is not about moderately improving the lives of my generation – we will struggle and make things “work” but in turn we will raise an unfortunately high percentage of our kids in poverty and present them to the formal school system with a high rate of ‘vulnerability. This in turn will place an enormous burden on the school system which will then ask for more public funding. It’s a destructive cycle that can be turned around if we can begin to see that an ‘investment’ in the early years is a savings to society in the long run.

      I urge you to read 15×15 written by Dr. Paul Kershaw (http://earlylearning.ubc.ca/media/uploads/publications/15by15-full-report.pdf) or view his website at http://www.gensqueeze.ca

      Thank you for your comments. They have begun a dialogue that has the potential to change people’s views on what it really means to ‘invest’ in the early years.

  3. Down with parasites like you who expect me to pay for your day care out of my hard earned tax dollars. Nothing more than a feminist trick to have us subsidize their irresponsible lifestyle choices.

    • I am not a parasite and do not expect you to pay for day care for my responsible choices. I only want due consideration for tax dollars for my young children. They too are Canadian citizens and have rights as such. Your attempts at calling this a feminist trick are tired.

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